Westfield Soccer Association

Game day coaching - What do you focus on during a game as a coach?

Weekly Coaches Email 3/24/15


Hope all is well.

As a follow up to the email I sent last week I would like to bring up a point that came up after talking to several volunteer coaches. By now it is known that we would like to hear only 1 voice on the sideline and therefore it is very important that all coaches involved with a team divide duties amongst each other. This all to avoid confusion and to make sure our players are given an opportunity to play.

Even when only 1 coach steps up to coach we still want to ensure the right topics are addressed when coaching. We have all coaches against coaches who try to manipulate every decision made by his/her players on and/or near the ball. To stop this from happening we need to take the controller out of their hands, because at this point you are coaching a game as if you would be playing a computer game.

Players should be given the opportunity to make their decisions without a coach (or parent) constantly telling them what to do (whether it would be to pass, dribble or shoot). They need to learn to make decisions, recognize game situations and work out a solution for the problem they encounter. Soccer is a players game, let them figure it out. You can go over decisions made when players are on not on the field and help them make better decisions in the future when they made a mistake. Our players should not been brought up to depend on their coaches to make decisions. We want to develop creative players that are not only technically capable, but also confident in their own decision making skills.

This does not mean that you have to become a cheerleader and are only encouraging your players to get the best out of themselves. As a coach you should look for other opportunities to coach in the flow of the game. A focus on your team shape/organization in offense and defense is also very important. These opportunities are missed very often, with a focus on what happens on the ball. To better explain this I attached a pdf file with a few game scenarios that hopefully paint you a clear picture. Look further than what is just happening on the ball. Are players making the field bigger in possession of the ball? Are my defenders and goalkeeper pushing up when we move the ball up the field? Awe in a good position to receive the ball on a goal kick, rather than just kicking the ball away?

For a visual representation, please click here.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.


Ruben Vloedgraven

Director of Coaching - Westfield Soccer Association